GiveWell and Open Philanthropy
GiveWell and Open Philanthropy are sister organizations in the effective altruism community. Both seek to identify outstanding giving opportunities, but they use different criteria and processes.
GiveWell has an emphasis on evidence-backed organizations within the global health and wellbeing space, while Open Philanthropy also supports high-risk, high-reward work, as well as work that could take a long time to pay off, in a variety of cause areas. We think this illustrates interesting methodological differences between attempts to answer the question “How can we do the most good?”.
- Our Criteria - GiveWell and Process for Identifying Top Charities - GiveWell (20 mins.)
- Alexander Berger on Global health and wellbeing (3 hours)
- Hits-based Giving - Open Philanthropy (45 mins.)
- The moral imperative towards cost-effectiveness (10 mins.)
- Prospecting for Gold (55 mins.)
- Finding the best charity requires estimating the unknowable. Here’s how GiveWell does it. (Podcast - 1 hour 45 mins.)
- Why we can't take expected value estimates literally (even when they're unbiased)
- List of ways in which cost-effectiveness estimates can be misleading - A checklist of things to keep in mind when using cost-effectiveness estimates. (25 mins.)
- One approach to comparing global problems in terms of expected impact - 80,000 Hours - An outline of a more precise and quantitative version of the importance, neglectedness, and tractability framework; and details on how to apply it yourself (30 mins.)
- A framework for comparing global problems in terms of expected impact - 80,000 Hours (25 mins.)
- Subjective Confidence Intervals - Animal Charity Evaluators (10 mins.)
- RCTs in Development economics, their critics and their evolution (18 mins.)
- How to Measure Anything, Chapter 1 and 2 (50 mins.)
Mental health or physical health?
- Donating money, buying happiness and Happiness for the whole household - (30 mins. between them) A cost effectiveness analysis that suggests that psychotherapy may be 9 times more effective than cash transfers (and thus competitive with GiveWell’s top charities).
- Using Subjective Well-Being to Estimate the Moral Weights of Averting Deaths and Reducing Poverty (52 mins.) - Argument that subjective well-being is a better metric for determining value than physical health or wealth.
- Health in poor countries problem profile (10 mins.)
- South Asian Air Quality Cause Investigation (18 mins.)
Other newer strategies for improving human wellbeing
- Wave is a startup that is now the largest mobile money service in Senegal. Some of Wave’s founders and early employees worked on it because they believe that it’s an extremely effective way to improve the world.
- Ben Kuhn, Wave’s CTO makes the case for founding a startup that serves emerging markets generally being an effective way of improving people’s lives.
- Many people in the developing world commit suicide by drinking pesticide. It seems that we can significantly reduce suicide rates if we ban the more dangerous sorts of pesticide.
- Charity Entrepreneurship has incubated a number of charities in this space, focused on interventions that they think could be highly effective. These include:
- The lack of controversy over well-targeted aid - GiveWell (10 mins.)
- Growth and the case against randomista development - An argument that research on and advocacy for economic growth in low- and middle-income countries is more cost-effective than the things funded by proponents of randomized controlled trials development. (1 hour - if you’re short on time, read Sections 1-3)
- Save a life or receive cash? Which do recipients want? - IDinsight - Explores the preferences and values of individuals and communities in Ghana and Kenya to inform funding allocations. (10 mins.)
Criticisms of the use of cost-effectiveness estimates
- Evidence, cluelessness, and the long term - Evidence covers only the more immediate effects of any intervention, and it's highly likely the vast majority of the value is thereby omitted from the calculation. (30 mins.)
- Charity Cost-Effectiveness in an Uncertain World – Center on Long-Term Risk - Another way to deal with prioritization under uncertainty is to focus on actions that seem likely to have generally positive effects across many scenarios, rather than focusing on clear, quantifiable metrics. (30 mins.)
- How not to be a “white in shining armor” - How GiveWell (as of 2012) tries to avoid “developed-world savior” interventions that don’t take into account local context (3 mins.)
- Why Charities Usually Don't Differ Astronomically in Expected Cost-Effectiveness - An argument about how those in the effective altruism movement might overestimate the extent to which charities differ in their expected marginal cost-effectiveness. (40 mins.)